Pokémon GO at Walt Disney World

by on March 3, 2017 19 Comments

Filed under: geeky, Just For Fun, Uncategorized, Walt Disney World (FL)

Pokémon GO

With the highly anticipated release of Pokémon GO Generation 2, Pokémon trainers are on the move again, looking to “catch ’em all” and walking miles in the hopes of hatching a rare Pokémon from an egg. One local secret is that Walt Disney World is an excellent place to play Pokémon GO. Here’s some tips to help improve your Pokémon GO experience at Walt Disney World.

What is Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is an app available on iPhone and Android devices that lets you “catch” cute creatures, called Pokémon, in real world locations. Players, called Pokémon trainers, hunt for Pokémon, battle in virtual gyms, walk distances of 2-10 km to hatch “eggs” within the game, and collect objects needed in the game from Pokéstops, GPS-identified landmarks.

Who on Earth is Playing at Walt Disney World?

With the high prices to get through the gates at Walt Disney World, it’s hard to imagine that people would take time out of their park day to hunt Pokémon. Many Pokémon trainers that you’ll see at Walt Disney World are locals who enjoy the ability to play the game in a beautiful and easy-to-walk-around location. But there are also many other people who play Pokémon GO on their vacation. You’ll especially see people playing while sitting around before parades or fireworks or while waiting in lines.

Poké-tiquette

Although the game itself doesn’t have a posted list of rules and etiquette aside from cautions to be aware of your surroundings and not to venture onto private property, there are some unwritten rules for Pokémon players at Walt Disney World that expand upon these.

  • Do not enter backstage or other off-limit areas to look for Pokémon.
  • When on a ride or in a show, especially with low lighting, turn your phone off or put it away so that light from the phone doesn’t disrupt ride enjoyment for others.
  • Keep the volume of the app turned down so as not to disrupt others.
  • Be extra certain to pay attention to your surroundings, especially when walking in crowds.
  • Make sure to bring external power devices (I personally prefer the FuelRod because I can swap them out as needed in the parks), and if you need to charge from an electrical outlet, be mindful that you are not being disruptive to people in the area.
  • If you are attempting to catch a Pokémon in a busy area, once you click on it in the app to get it on the catch screen, find a location where you will be out of the way to finish the catch.

Where to Find Pokémon, Pokéstops, and Gyms

Even at Animal Kingdom at 6 PM, you can find some lures activated.

 

There are an abundance of Pokéstops and gyms at the theme parks, water parks, resort hotels, and Disney Springs, and Pokémon spawn all over Walt Disney World. Overall, the best spawns seem to happen in the Magic Kingdom because many players activate lures at the Pokéstops to increase the number of Pokémon that spawn. (A lure on a Pokéstop provides a new spawn every 5 minutes, and given how close many Pokéstops are to each other, it is possible to have dozens of spawns per hour from one fixed location.) Because of the large number of players in theme parks, gyms turn over very quickly, which makes it easier to win battles, facing off against only one or two tough Pokémon. For more of a challenge, gyms at resort hotels can have more levels, but still are relatively easy to take down.

If you’re looking for a more relaxed environment to catch Pokémon without dodging crowds, resort hotels are your best bet. A resort hotel will usually have a half dozen or more Pokéstops, a gym or two, and have a good mix of common and intermediate spawns, with the occasional rare spawn.

One interesting tidbit about Pokémon GO is that the images used with Pokéstops do not get update frequently. At Disney Springs, you’ll still find a Pokéstop for Pleasure Island or at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll see some featuring images from The Streets of America. It is like a miniature time capsule to see how many things have changed in recent years.

 

Tricks for Getting Mileage at Walt Disney World

One of the more challenging aspects of Pokémon GO is getting enough mileage to hatch different types of eggs. One trick that I’ve found is that some modes of transportation around Walt Disney World move slow enough to count as walking and provide mileage towards hatching eggs, plus have the ability to use Wi-Fi or have cell service necessary to track progress. They include:

Yes, this Pokéstop is too far away, in place and in time.

  • Parking trams
  • Friendship boats
  • The PeopleMover
  • Liberty Belle
  • The Walt Disney World Railroad
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris (and on occasion, Pokémon have been known to spawn out on the savanna)
  • Train to Rafiki’s Planetwatch
  • Disney Springs/Sassagoula watercraft
  • Tomorrowland Speedway (although because this winds around in a small area, your mileage may be lower due to delay between location polling and the way the app calculates mileage).
  • The Greenhouse section of Living with the Land (cell/Wi-Fi signal is spotty in the main ride, and you’d want to keep your screen covered to avoid causing light distraction for other guests

If you’re looking to put on mileage the old-fashioned way, the walking trail from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Epcot, the boardwalk path around Crescent Lake, the path between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Grand Floridian (by way of the Polynesian), anywhere around Disney Springs, and the walking trail around Art of Animation and Pop Century are great places for an easy walk to add mileage. Naturally, Epcot is the best in-park experience for walking the most distance, along with Animal Kingdom (if you are willing to make a few laps). You won’t get much mileage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and trying to power walk through the Magic Kingdom tends to be more trouble than it is worth.

Regional-Specific Pokémon and Rare Spawns

For visitors from overseas, it may come as a disappointment to hear that Niantic doesn’t consider Orlando to be part of North America, so the North American Gen 1-exclusive Pokémon, Tauros, does not spawn in this area. To catch a Tauros, you’ll need to go farther north–to places like Daytona Beach on the east coast, or Ocala towards the center of the state.

But rare collectors from North America and abroad, rejoice! In Gen 2, Heracross is a region-specific Pokémon that is only available to Central and South America. By Pokémon standards, that also means central Florida, and I can personally confirm catching a Heracross at Walt Disney World (at the Beach Club resort, specifically). In addition, the tropical Corsola also spawns in the area, however I’ve not been able to find one at Walt Disney World–yet.

Aside from that, Mr. Mime, Kangaskhan, and Farfetch’d cannot be caught in the Orlando area (or anywhere in North America), but you can often find them placed into gyms by people vacationing to Walt Disney World. So if you are willing to fill in your Pokédex with ones you can’t catch locally by having them recorded as seen, keep clicking on gyms. You never know what you’ll find.

Looking to see rare Pokémon? Check every gym you find.

Where Else Do the Locals Go?

If your plans include a trip on a Disney cruise, the area around the cruise terminal does have some unique spawns. Getting to them can be tricky, however, so be mindful of your surroundings when attempting to go to a particular Pokéstop.

One final note — if you are looking for a short day trip to a main hangout for Pokémon GO players, head down to Kissimmee Lakefront Park. Less than a half hour from Walt Disney World, this beautiful and expansive park often provides rare spawns, an abundance of players, and many active lures throughout the day. If hunting Pokémon is part of your vacation plans, it is worth the trip down, day or night.

Anyone else play Pokémon GO at Walt Disney World? Ever caught anything impressive? Got any tips or tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments.

Posted on March 3, 2017

19 Responses to “Pokémon GO at Walt Disney World”

  • In December I went on my 4th solo Disney trip in under 2.5 years, but 1st since the release of Pokemon Go. Since I already had tons of pictures of everything (except Christmas decor), I instead tried to get pics of Pokemon posing in Disney. Since it was mostly Magikarps, Slowpokes, and the common stuff there, I wasn’t so into catching them in the ball, it was all about catching them with the Pokemon camera. It was a lot of fun.

    • by Julia Mascardo on March 9, 2017, at 12:49 pm EDT

      My daughter loves taking pictures like that. The other day, she had a Magikarp on the conveyer belt at the grocery store.

  • We played a bit on our trip last month. The most difficult part was that I was constantly using the Lines App, the My Disney Experience App and using my phone as a camera. So it was hard to keep Pokémon Go on!

    We did catch a couple of Pokémon that we don’t see as often in our area of Canada that seemed to be regular spawns in the area. And it was great to pass the time for the kids in line. My son would battle the gyms while we waited for rope drop at Epcot and for the Welcome show to begin at the Magic Kingdom!

  • Thanks for the info! I was curious how it would be playing at Disney when we head down in April. With a nine month old, I expect we’ll have a lot more down time than normal, so some pokemon (which she loves too!) will be a treat.

    Here’s hoping one of my hotel rooms will have a pokestop within reach!

    • by Julia Mascardo on March 9, 2017, at 1:04 pm EDT

      Don’t you wish that access to PokeStops was an option to suggest on a room request?

    • I confess to spending a good bit of time with the Touring Plans room maps side by side with PokemonGoMap.info, trying to optimize my room request to have a pokestop in range. Last summer at Beach Club we could reach 2 stops most of the time, which was wonderful.

  • Should hatch lots of eggs with all of the walking at Disney!

    Also, turning the volume off (if not using headphones) should apply for ALL apps/videos/phone conversations, not just Pokémon Go. There is nothing more annoying than being in line (or on a plane) and having to listen to the noises from someone else’s electronics.

  • I got a Corsola near the bamboo tree pokestop in Epcot yesterday night and a Heracross in Sunshine Seasons in the afternoon. While I was stuck in the Frozen line around 11 am, a Heracross appeared at the Illuminations pokestop. Both Heracross showed up on lured stops, the Corsola was a regular one.

  • by Daisy Lauren on March 5, 2017, at 10:42 am EDT

    LOVE this article. 🙂 I went last night with my Go Plus and has a ball. It was buzzing like crazy.

  • Great article! It was a WDW trip last August that really got me going in Pokemon Go–I went from level 4 to 18 in an 8-day trip. On a trip in November I used my Go Plus lots of times to avoid disrupting other guests, since I could keep it in my pocket and not even have the light from the button to bother folks.

    One addition to your list of attractions for getting mileage while resting your feet is Jungle Cruise which has lots of water Pokemon including the occasional dratini and several Pokestops. The twisty route won’t maximize PKG mileage, but at least you’re sitting down. 🙂

  • by Laurie McNally on March 5, 2017, at 12:56 pm EDT

    Great article. We just returned from our Mardi Gras trip and my husband and teenage son had a blast catching pokemon that we hadn’t seen back home. It was also a great time filler when my husband or I had to sit out a show or ride because our toddler fell asleep in his stroller. With so many pokestops around it was easy to find a shady space and drop a lure while the other parent went with our two older children. My only complaint was when they both did not want to stop battling a gym to go check in for our ADR!

  • the Pokemon Go Plus has been awesome for me. I’ve gotten used to the various vibrations to know the difference between Pokestop, repeat Pokemon, and new Pokemon. Wife and I had a blast during our long weekend there trying to catch anything new… ^_^

  • by Julia Mascardo on March 9, 2017, at 5:27 pm EDT

    By the way…it’s still a work in progress, doesn’t work with all browsers, and doesn’t have everywhere in the area loaded, but Orlandopokemap.com has real-time updates of rare Pokémon. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom aren’t included yet, but Epcot and the Studios are.